Sep 16

Firm Foundation 4: Fun

I visited a church youth group once where the content was good, there was a good bible study, good discussion, biblical teaching and yet the whole time it just felt, well, awkward. I couldn’t put my finger on what was missing, and then I worked it out. Fun. There was not a single laugh from the moment people arrived until they left. To be honest, I couldn’t work out why people would come along each week (I later found out that attendance actually was very sporadic). Jesus came to bring ‘life in all its fullness’ (John 10:10), and that sounds like enjoying life. Churches have a danger of making everything over-serious.

Our youth group needs to be a place where people are keen to come; a place where they feel they can be themselves, enjoy the company of others, and have fun. Humour, laughing and having fun are all essential elements to a good group time. Laughing breaks down barriers. Discovering we have a common sense of humour helps us to bond with people and to build up rapport.

When people feel they belong, barriers come down and they are more open and receptive to what God might want to say to them. Here are a few ways of raising the fun factor, as we try and take fun more seriously:

1. Play appropriate games This week at our youth group I got it wrong. I planned a game that worked fantastically well when I ran it with a group of about 40 people, but this time with only 10 it fell flat. It was human guess who? It is a great game where people sit and stand in rows which resembles the game, Guess Who? One person is selected as a guesser, and then the rest choose someone to be the person to be guessed. Last time everyone joined in with the game, hollering and laughing at some of the guesser’s questions, this time it was a bit dull, not much fun. If I am honest, this had an effect on the rest of the session, as it meant people hadn’t connected properly so didn’t engage so well with what followed. Games are really important, but we need to play games that are appropriate for the group we are with. Fortunately, there are loads of great games suggestions on the Thrive website!

2. Use video clips A quick, quirky video can help break the ice and stop things getting too heavy. They are also great for bouncing a teaching point off as well. Again, the video clips page on the website might help you here.

3. Plan for fun Make the most of opportunities and sometimes do the unexpected. Deciding one evening that it would be fun to play sardines in the church, would be great fun and be a memory maker for the group! We don’t always have to follow the same format for our sessions.

4. Positive humour A word of warning, so much of contemporary humour is at the expense of someone else. We need to make sure that our jokes are positive and encouraging, and would be the kind of joke you would feel fine telling in front of your church leader! Remember, we need to set a good example and also build people up.

We need to take fun seriously. Look for ways that people can enjoy themselves, let their barriers down and so get to know each other better. That way, your group will become known for deep friendships and the place to enjoy yourself!

What ways have you injected fun into your group meetings? What other ways can you help people enjoy your youth group? Leave a comment below.